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  #1  
Old 07-11-2009, 04:14 AM
Rilchiam Rilchiam is offline
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Origin of the "slow clap" meme?

The device is constantly being parodied and referenced, and I'm starting to think that the parodies may far outnumber the serious portrayals. There are plenty of teen movies, 80s or otherwise, that turn on a rousing speech or other moment of triumph, but I'm not sure how many of those scenes end exactly that way: slow clap that builds to riotous applause.

Start with John Hughes' teen movies, of course: I know there was no SC in Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller. ISTR that Weird Science and Some Kind of Wonderful had scenes where a SC might have fit, but I don't remember it actually happening. The only movie that I know had a SC -- in fact, ended with it -- was Lucas, but that was in 1986, when it wasn't regarded as a cliche. And I didn't find it too hard to accept, the way it was led up to. There might have been one in Revenge of the Nerds, but I haven't seen it in years, and I'm not sure the scene I'm thinking of had a literal SC moment.

So how many movies, in whatever genre, from whatever era, have a SC like the one shown in this clip? (I can't do a direct link; it's the one called "80s ending".) Because I'm really starting to think that it's less an overworked dramatic device than it is comedic shorthand. ETA: Of course, it's possible I just haven't seen the relevant films. If so, by all means enlighten me.

Last edited by Rilchiam; 07-11-2009 at 04:14 AM..
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  #2  
Old 07-11-2009, 05:06 AM
ashman165 ashman165 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rilchiam View Post
So how many movies, in whatever genre, from whatever era, have a SC like the one shown in this clip? (I can't do a direct link; it's the one called "80s ending".) Because I'm really starting to think that it's less an overworked dramatic device than it is comedic shorthand. ETA: Of course, it's possible I just haven't seen the relevant films. If so, by all means enlighten me.
The near-end scene in Not Another Teen Movie would seem to bear you out.
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:50 AM
robardin robardin is offline
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I never thought of it as something that was a reference to another movie, but the most commonly played non-parody example of what you're talking about is from Hoosiers, from 1986. The speech from the coach in the locker room (played by Gene Hackman) to a team that feels completely outclassed in its final game is at first met with sullen silence... Then one player claps, as if perfunctorily, only to be joined by another teammate, and the crescendo of team feeling builds into a rousing frenzy.
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:53 AM
robardin robardin is offline
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Of course, the whole "speak slowly, calmly, and build in tempo" thing is a standard public speaking technique to get a crowd "into it".

Here's a rather more histrionic example from the movie Meatballs (1979)
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:32 AM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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In the biopic It's Good to Be Alive (1974), there is an early version of the slow clap toward the end when Winfield's Campanella makes an appearance on the ball field.
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Old 07-11-2009, 12:10 PM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rilchiam View Post
Start with John Hughes' teen movies, of course: I know there was no SC ... Breakfast Club
I'm almost 100% certain that Bender slow-claps in the putting-on-lipstick-without using hands scene. It's even in IMDb's "Memorable Quotes" section as "[claps sarcastically]."

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 07-11-2009 at 12:12 PM..
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  #7  
Old 07-11-2009, 01:49 PM
Rilchiam Rilchiam is offline
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robardin: Okay, Hoosiers and Lucas were the same year. In that case, I can see why the device would be seen as happening "all the time" or "over and over."

Knead: Right, but that didn't build to a whole bunch of people applauding madly, which is what I'm looking for. One person clapping sarcastically happens IRL as well as on film. I'm looking for filmic examples of the unrealistic action of one person applauding and others gradually joining in until the whole place is pandemonium.
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Old 07-11-2009, 01:51 PM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rilchiam View Post
Knead: Right, but that didn't build to a whole bunch of people applauding madly, which is what I'm looking for. One person clapping sarcastically happens IRL as well as on film. I'm looking for filmic examples of the unrealistic action of one person applauding and others gradually joining in until the whole place is pandemonium.
Gotcha.
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Old 07-11-2009, 03:25 PM
Rilchiam Rilchiam is offline
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Okay, I just checked the pop-up commentary on Not Another Teen Movie. It says the Slow Clap appears in "teen movies such as Lucas." That's it; they don't give any other such-as's.

I'm really starting to think that it's simply comedic shorthand. The teen movie standard was and is everything working out just so: the underdog wins, the antagonist is humiliated/humbled, and all the subsidiary characters get whatever it was they wanted. So perhaps the SC appears in parodies because it's a quick way of illustrating that, not because it happened so many times in non-parodies.

Now, refresh my memory on Weird Science. The cast of Road Warrior (literally: Vernon Wells was one of them) crashed the party, AMH threatened them with a gun, and they shuffled meekly out. That I remember, but I can't remember if there was an SC or not. And it's gotta be one person clapping quietly and then everyone else joins in. It's not a slow clap if everyone starts cheering at the same time.
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Old 07-11-2009, 03:37 PM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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I'd like to nominate this particular type of thing for a new name. I nominate "applauscendo."
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Old 07-12-2009, 04:11 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Not quite what it evolved into, but the slow clap clearly owes a lot to Citizen Kane.

After Susan Alexander Kane's disastrous opera debut, the crown applause is sparse. Kane rises and begins to clap, slowly and loudly, speeding up the tempo until he's finally stopped. No one joins in, of course.

The slow clap clearly evolved from this.
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Old 07-12-2009, 06:48 PM
BigNik BigNik is offline
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I've been told that it's been a staple of cricket crowds since my grandfather was going to matches in the 1930s. I don't know if it transitioned to American popular culture from an American sport, though.
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  #13  
Old 07-12-2009, 09:59 PM
Nonsuch Nonsuch is offline
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Interestingly, we've already had a thread on the Slow Clap.
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  #14  
Old 07-12-2009, 10:18 PM
Koxinga Koxinga is offline
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The Slow Clap is barely noticeable at first, but after several weeks you'll gradually find it burns and burns and BURNS!
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:03 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is online now
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What's the difference between a meme and a trope?
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:47 AM
ministryman ministryman is offline
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"Strictly Ballroom" features a near-end SC.
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  #17  
Old 07-13-2009, 10:03 AM
BigT BigT is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahaloth View Post
What's the difference between a meme and a trope?
From tvtropes.org:

"Sociologists notwithstanding, on the Internet, a "meme" is usually described as a catchy derivative of some aspect of pop culture, parodied and repeated to the point that its origins and original meaning become muddled." (link)

"Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations." (link)

Whether this is an accurate distinction, or one without a difference, I don't know.
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:14 AM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
From tvtropes.org:

"Sociologists notwithstanding, on the Internet, a "meme" is usually described as a catchy derivative of some aspect of pop culture, parodied and repeated to the point that its origins and original meaning become muddled." (link)

"Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations." (link)

Whether this is an accurate distinction, or one without a difference, I don't know.
From that, the OP is actually looking for the origin of the trope.

It would be a meme used thusly: Someone starts a thread, someone else provides a snarky but beautiful reply cutting them down, then the OP replies in such a devastating way as to leave the snarker shriveled and impotent. Then someone else posts:

[slow clap]

and several other people join in.
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  #19  
Old 07-13-2009, 03:21 PM
cormac262 cormac262 is offline
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I've always thought the slow clap - more to show "support", as opposed to just acknowledgement - started from "Brubaker" (the ending). Checking IMDB, I see that movie came out in...1980
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  #20  
Old 07-13-2009, 03:28 PM
Troy McClure SF Troy McClure SF is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rilchiam View Post
Okay, I just checked the pop-up commentary on Not Another Teen Movie. It says the Slow Clap appears in "teen movies such as Lucas." That's it; they don't give any other such-as's.
Wow. Not many people admit to owning that DVD. I salute you.

"Do it for Marty's torso!"

Last edited by Troy McClure SF; 07-13-2009 at 03:31 PM..
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  #21  
Old 07-14-2009, 12:48 AM
Rilchiam Rilchiam is offline
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Why wouldn't I own it? Why wouldn't I admit it?
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  #22  
Old 07-14-2009, 12:41 PM
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Not Another Teen Movie is my favorite Teen Movie.
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  #23  
Old 07-17-2009, 05:33 PM
Troy McClure SF Troy McClure SF is offline
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Originally Posted by Rilchiam View Post
Why wouldn't I own it? Why wouldn't I admit it?
It's one of my favorite movies, but I think we're in the minority in that everyone- at least everyone I talk to- thinks it's among the dumbest movies ever.
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  #24  
Old 07-17-2009, 09:41 PM
Rilchiam Rilchiam is offline
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Perhaps they're the dumb ones, then, for not realizing that it's a parody. Or a satire, whichever is more apt. Unless they know that, but they still think it fails as satire/parody?
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